Updated 03/04/2013 06:49 PM
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
You might be hearing a lot about colorectal cancer this month. That's because March is used to bring awareness to the health issue. Our Melissa Kakareka has information we should all know this month and for the months and years that follow.
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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- If you've been putting off a screening for colorectal cancer, now is a good time to talk to your doctor. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
"It's important to have an awareness month so that each year, we are reminded of a specific time that we want to focus on making people aware of really how important it really, really is. It's that big of an issue," said American Cancer Society Community Mission Manager Susan Moranda.
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women. Without a screening, many people might not be aware that there's something to be concerned about.
"There really aren't any early symptoms for colorectal cancer, so you really want to make sure you get in and get your screening ahead of time. However, if you do see a change in bowel habits, gnawing pain in your stomach or cramping or blood in your stool, you want to get into your doctor right away," explained Moranda.
Experts say people should start talking with their doctor about screenings around the age of 50 or sooner if they have a family history or other increased risk factors. They say early detection is the key to beating the illness.
"Colorectal cancer is really one of the most preventable forms of cancer, along with cervical cancer, with an early screening," said Moranda.
Meaning that a simple screening could help save your life